Summary: to stress the importance of prayer in the life of the believer, especially when it comes to evangelism
What to Pray for
Primary Purpose: To stress the importance of prayer in the life of the
believers, especially when it comes to evangelism.
Paul’s requests for prayer enlightens us as to his priorities in his life.
We would do well to heed his words ad to follow his example. Though he is
suffering personally in a Roman prison this is not even mentioned in his
requests. We here no complains about ill treatment or about his thorn in the
flesh. Instead he encourages the believers in Colossae to be:
1. Devoted to prayer v.2 In the KJV it tells us to continue in prayer. Paul is
telling them to be consistent. Some of us can think of prayer as mainly times
when I am in a quiet place, head bowed, eyes closed, talking with God.
That’s certainly a part of it, but there’s more to it than that. A man named
Thomas Kelly once said,
“there is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once.
On one level we can be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all
the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a
profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship,
and a gnetle receptiveness to divine breathing.”
It may be that we should practice more the idea that Paul had when he said in
1 Thess 5:17 to “pray without ceasing”. We should practice the presence of
Christ in our daily lives and bring things as the Lord shows us concerns,
praises, thanksgiving and all sorts of petitions up to God. It should be as
common as breathing to the believer. Instead, what a lot of people do is they
wait till they get into trouble or something they don’t understand then they
pray until they are spiritually hyperventilating. Then, when trouble passes,
they move on till the next crisis.
I heard about a Pastor who went to visit a wayward man. He needed to
straighten up his life and get right with God. When he saw the pastor, he was
so glad and immediately began to make promises. “I’ll straighten up my life.
I’ll quit drinking and smoking and I’ll get back to church every Sunday. I’ll
start tithing and quit running around on my wife etc etc. .”
At the conclusion, the pastor took the patient’s hand, kneeled by his
bedside as was his custom and prayed: “Lord, you’ve heard Brother Brown’s
promises of what he’ll do if you heal him. If he means it,cure him. If he
doesn’t, kill him. Amen.” And the pastor got up and walked out of the room
without saying another word.
Paul added another quality to this request and that is to be watchful.
We should in other words be expectant. We should believe by faith that God
is working and wait to see what he does. Watchful also means that we should
continue to do our work. The hard working farmer may pray that the bugs
don’t eat all the crops, but that doesn’t stop him from spraying if need be.
You do your part and pray with the expectation that God will do his.
Do we really pray with that kind of expectation? Do we still believe
God can do miracles? Is Hull, Texas off limits to the power of God? No.
We should realize that the same God who parted the Red Sea and names the
stars hears us when we pray.
2. Praying for opportunities to share Christ. The early church did this. They
were watchful about people who needed Jesus and desired chances to share
their faith. Paul was already in chains because of the gospel, but that didn’t
stop him. Paul tells us to “make the most of every opportunity” to witness
and honor Christ in all that we do. Do you make the most of the
opportunities God does give you?
3. Praying that the gospel is shared clearly. The Judeans had eyes and ears,
but couldn’t see or hear spiritual truth. This to me is where our church fails
sometimes. There is a way that the gospel can be clearly shared with all
people groups. The church has to be careful to share the gospel in a way that
is relevant. A early church father use to say, “Share Christ at every
opportunity, and if necessary, use words.” Do I share my faith, both in words
and deeds in a way that makes the gospel relevant and appealing. Do people
see the practical ways the gospel works in their lives. More importantly, do
people see the difference the gospel makes in my life.
Not long ago, I was getting my car brakes repaired. I was in a hurry
and was told the repair work would be done in about a hour. An hour came